From “Pong to Pokemon,” explore 50 years of electronic gaming at the Bullock Museum exhibit in Austin, opening Saturday, July 29


Opening Saturday, July 29, “Pong to Pokemon: The Evolution of Electronic Gaming” will offer an interactive, inside look at the games that have shaped the past of electronic gaming and those that will shape its future, a release said.

The Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin will host the exhibition, which will remain open until March 18, 2018. Admission ranges from $9-$13 and includes entrance to all special exhibits.

“Pong to Pokemon” will include story boards and preliminary sketches from popular games; mini documentaries about the artistry and technology of gaming; a look at the role Texas has and continues to play in shaping the gaming industry; and pop-up gaming programs throughout the exhibit, according to a release.

“Basically, [it’s a] look at the past 50 years of gaming history through original artifacts,” said Jenny Peterson, associate curator of exhibitions at the museum. “Some collections [are] from local, international and national lenders and collectors and we’ve worked with Texas-based game developers to put together this really interactive, artifact-rich exhibition. It’s Texas’ history and also [Texas’] present and future.”

Texas has the second largest pool of video game development companies in the U.S., preceded only by California, said Jenny Peterson, Associate Curator of Exhibitions at the Bullock. The “Pong to Pokemon” exhibit will be the second longest-running exhibit the museum has ever put on, Peterson said.

“It’s the longest exhibition we’ve done in the rotunda gallery and the second longest exhibit ever in the museum’s history and a lot of that was to capture a diverse audience that we maybe wouldn’t have come to the museum,” she said.

The exhibit’s name is a call to look back at the first commercially successful video game, Pong, as well as to glance forward to advancing technology, such as immersive smartphone games like Pokemon Go, the release said.

“You’ll see kids showing their parents what they know about gaming and then the parents getting to show their kids the consoles they used to play on- so it’s a lot of nostalgia,” Peterson said.

Visitors will get the chance to play classic video game favorites, like The Oregon Trail, Pong, Ms. Pacman, Tetris, Super Mario Bros., Guitar Hero, Angry Birds and Minecraft. The exhibit will also feature an exclusive insider peek at the collections of several Texas video game innovators including Richard Garriott, John Romero and Warren Spector, according to a release.

“It has been fantastic to research this history and be able to share never-before-seen artifacts from [the gaming innovators’] personal collections with our visitors,” Deputy Director Margaret Koch said in a release.

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